"I just really liked the place, the players, the coaches and stuff," Cameron told Inside Tennessee tonight. "I got to meet the players and know the coaches a little bit better. I just think it's the best place for me."
And what does papa Mayo think of his prodigy's decision to pursue his path to pigskin prominence?
"He's excited," Cameron confirmed. "He went with me on the trip. We were also there this summer and we were there for a practice recently."
There was a time when Cameron Mayo, who is rated the nation's No, 78 offensive linemen by The Insiders, didn't believe he'd get a chance to be a Tennessee Vol.
"Tennessee was recruiting me all along," he explained, "but then they stopped and picked back up again."
The Dalton, Ga., native is the second offensive-line prospect from Georgia to commit to the Vols since Sunday, joining Lovejoy, Ga., tackle Anthony Parker. Like Parker, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Mayo needs to gain some size and strength but his upside is outstanding. A master of technique and quick off the ball, Mayo has the makings to become a starter at center after a redshirt season, much as the unheralded Scott Wells did when he became a four-year starter after sitting out his first year.
"They want me at guard or center," said Mayo, who is fully qualified and carries a 3.2 core GPA. "I run a 4.95 or a five flat. I want to be about 300 (pounds) and just as fast. I'll take a redshirt to do that and then get an opportunity to play next year. That's really kind of neat getting to play that redshirt freshman year."
That's a luxury the downtrodden Vols couldn't afford when his father arrived on campus as a true freshman in 1981. A mere four weeks after the beginning of fall practice, Bill Mayo found himself starting against home state Georgia in Athens. Tennessee dropped that contest 44-0 and the next week at USC, 43-7, but bounced back to go 8-4 and to a bowl game. The senior Mayo would experience three more winning seasons and bowls before his college career concluded at Tennessee. In the process he helped usher in an era of sustain success for the Vols who have experienced only one losing season since 1980.
The younger Mayo has many of the same attributes that made his father successful, including quickness and speed. Mayo was a three-year starter at Dalton and graded out 88 percent at offensive tackle. His speed allowed him to also start at defensive end where he had a solid senior season for 7-3 Dalton. Additionally, Mayo starts for the basketball team and recently scored 17 points and pulled down 13 rebounds in a game against Southeastern.
"I"m benching about 305," he said. "I want to get that up and I want to get bigger up to about 290, 300 pounds and I should have everything I need."
Undoubtedly, Mayo has the genes and Tennessee football is in his blood.